What are the two things everybody needs to know about your job? Interesting question. I'll play along.
The two things everybody needs to know about my job are:
2. Authors don't get paid from the sale of used books, or from the downloading of bootlegged copies of books on the internet, or from sales of books on eBay (which, you know, are mostly used), or for the sale of stripped books (selling these is illegal anyway, but they show up with alarming regularity, so I thought I'd mention them.)
Authors, in fact, don't get paid for much of anything, with the notable exception of a few cents on the original sale of each copy of their books. Any advances they may have received are exactly that -- advances. Not bonuses, not additional money, but an advance against payment the publisher expects to be coming. Some authors agree to contracts that don't incude advances. Assuming the author has received an advance, the author now has to sell X number of books to loyal readers before the author gets any additional money from the publisher. So while I think most of us understand all about the lack of money and either not being able to or not wanting to spend $7.99 for something you're just going to read and then toss, we hope that all of you understand that while picking up a used book is a whole lot easier on your wallet, it's not so kind to ours.
There is an argument to be made, however, that the circulation of used books builds readership, and that's our ultimate goal, right? Word of mouth is always a good thing. So if you've read one of my books and want to pass it along to a friend, I say go for it! Just please keep in mind that authors don't get paid every time somebody opens a book they've written.
Most importantly, please remember that if you find a free download of someone's book on the internet (other than respected book stores where the author may have opted to give the book away for a certain amount of time) chances are the book has been uploaded there illegally. Please don't encourage people to do this. Don't download from pirate sites!